Can You Say Confusing??
A couple of months ago we had to take our girl for more testing. Psychologists like to retest every three years just to see what growth has occurred and where you stand in the present. It helps to plan for school choices, IEP's and other academic and therapy decisions. When a child is five they say that the test helps you prepare for school. When they child is eight they say it helps you prepare for LIFE!
This year she turned eight. The results that came from the testing was baffling to say the least. It was an extremely hard day for me and my husband as we heard that they believe that she is borderline/mild mentally retarded. We were dumb founded and really had to work to get our minds around that kind of news.
Our OT decided to do some more extensive testing and she began to look more at her eye function. She said that it seemed that her eyes were not working together, and when we asked the psychologist she did indicate that Caroline was choosing either answer "a" or answer "d" on the multiple choice portion of the test. She wasn't choosing the two middle choices. Almost like she couldn't single those choices out and it was just easier to go with "a" or "d".
It seemed that she could not keep her eyes focused on visual pursuits (back and forth) and she struggled to keep her eyes focused in convergence tasks (as an object comes towards you). She could not read the letters on the eye chart when they were presented to her in a line, but when they were given as single letters she knew every one of them!
Another thing that has always been hard for her is keeping her eyes open or straight while having her picture taken. She will inevitably look off to the side or close her eyes anytime we tell her to "smile!"
One day I just said, "JUST LOOK AT THE CAMERA 'TIL IT FLASHES!" To which she answered, "But that's so hard mom."
We prayed and talked a lot about our next steps and together we all decided to pursue Vision Therapy. The hard part of VT is that it can be controversial in the world of eye health. OT's tend to lean towards it because it's based on the same premise as OT. They do exercises, work on visual skills, reassess and continue.
The Vision Therapist changed her glasses to add a prism. We started attending VT twice a week and we started doing homework each night... all at no small expense.
We had not really heard the other side of the controversy until this week when we took Caroline to a pediatric ophthalmologist. His view is that her eyes are completely healthy. She seemed to track ok for him and she kept her eyes on the target as he tried the convergence activities. He said there is really no need for her glasses because all kids her age are marginally farsighted. He basically said that he thinks the vision therapy isn't needed, but that attention is, for sure, an issue and that may be a road we want to explore.
"Did he just say what I think he said?" My husband and I just stood and stared at each other. Have we wasted a month's worth of time, energy and money on something that she really doesn't need?
Do we listen to the OT who has known her since she was five and has worked with her each week for 3 years? OR do we listen to the doctor that has all of these diplomas hanging on his wall and who sees 100's of children each year with eye issues?
To be totally honest... I still don't know. I just know that we are struggling to make the right choices in a world where even the professionals don't agree. It's so hard to know who is right and who is being conservative and who is being aggressive... AND which of those is the right approach. I really don't know.
The hardest part is thinking that all of these decisions only affect one person the most and that's Caroline! She's 8 years old. She's repeating 1st grade because there ARE issues. Our choices affect her and we seriously feel that we are carrying her world on our shoulders.
Then... this week as I had my quiet time God gave me this:
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 31:21
He let me know that we are NOT carrying her world on our shoulders, but that HE is in control! He gave me Jeremiah 29:11 for her at the beginning of the school year and I pray that as we continue to seek His face that He will CLEARLY show us the way. He promised that He would. I also pray that once we hear that we will be sensitive to His direction and in obedience we will walk in it!
Being a parent is the hardest job I've ever had. I thought that being a teacher and be responsible for other people's kids was hard, but they go home at the end of the day. My decisions for this kid will last for her entire life, and if I didn't have Jesus... I seriously do not know what I would do!